Fungus is a type of disease-causing organism. Athlete’s foot is the most common fungal infection. Fungi love dark, warm and moist places, so the moist areas between your toes and other parts of your foot are the perfect breeding ground for them. The organisms cause intense itching, burning and redness of the skin.
Who Gets It? How Does It Spread?
Athlete’s foot is a communicable disease, meaning it can spread from person to person, from an object to a person, or from an animal to a person.You can get athlete’s foot from touching an infected animal or person’s body part or by just touching something an infected part of the body has come in contact with. For example, you might get athlete’s foot taking a shower at your local pool, or even in the showers of the fanciest hotels. Ladies may pick up a fungal infection in the foot bath used during pedicures. Wearing flip-flops in the shower anytime you shower outside of your own home will help reduce your risk. Being sure not to wear someone else’s shoes will also reduce the risk of infection.
Don’t Ignore It
Fungal infections do not go away on their own. You may require a prescription for an anti-fungal medication or cream, depending on the location of your infection. Ignoring a fungal infection can lead to major systemic symptoms and serious illness. See your doctor if you think you have a fungal infection.
Treating Fungal Infections
Over-the-counter medications, such as antifungal creams, sprays and powders, can cure athlete’s foot, but if they don’t relieve the symptoms in the time specified on the label, consult with your primary health care provider. If you have diabetes, see your doctor immediately if you notice redness and suffer with itchy, burning or stinging feet. Before applying over-the-counter medications, wash and dry the affected area, and carefully follow the application instructions on the medication label. Tea tree oil, aqueous onion extract or ajoene are natural remedies that may help.
An Ounce of Prevention – don’t walk barefoot and always wear flip flops when showering outside the home.
Compiled by Gail O. Guterl, ADVANCE contributing editor; edited by Lorrie Klemons